Brother of Aaron Hernandez accused of threatening school shootings

Posted at 7:35 AM, July 26, 2023 and last updated 7:38 AM, July 26, 2023


BRISTOL, Conn. (Court TV) — The brother of late NFL player-turned-convicted killer Aaron Hernandez has been criminally charged after witnesses told authorities they suspected he was planning shootings at two universities, including his alma mater.

Dennis “DJ” Hernandez Jr., 37, was arrested July 18 outside his house in Bristol, Connecticut. According to court documents, Bristol police officers used a Taser to subdue Hernandez after he walked toward them, hands outstretched at his sides and yelling, “Shoot me!”

Dennis “DJ” Hernandez Jr., 37, was arrested July 18, 2023, after witnesses told police in Bristol, Conn., that he had made threatening comments and might be planning a school shooting. (Bristol Police Department)

The officers went to Hernandez’s home after investigators determined he was “gravely disabled and a danger to society,” an incident report stated. He is accused of making threats against Brown University, located in Providence, Rhode Island, and the University of Connecticut, where he played football in the 2000s.

Hernandez is the older brother of Aaron Hernandez, who died by suicide in prison in 2017. Aaron Hernandez, then a tight end for the New England Patriots, became a household name in June 2013 when he was arrested in the murder of an acquaintance, Odin Lloyd, who was found shot to death at an industrial park a mile from the athlete’s home.

The disgraced NFL player was convicted in April 2015 of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. He was 27 years old when he hanged himself in his prison cell two years later.

Dennis Hernandez has been in trouble with the law multiple times since then, most recently in March when he was charged with breach of peace for throwing a bag containing a brick and a note over a fence at ESPN.

According to The Associated Press, the poorly spelled note read: “To all media outlets, it’s about time you all realeyes the affect media has on all family members. Since you’re a world wide leader maybe you could lead how media and messages are delivered brick by brick. Clean it up! Yours truly, Dennis J. Hernandez.”

The AP reported that a judge ordered Hernandez re-arrested earlier this month after he failed to show up for a July 7 hearing in that case.

Hernandez missed his court date because he had gone to UConn and Brown to “map the schools out,” the heavily redacted Bristol police report states.

Authorities first became aware of the alleged threats after speaking to two women close to Hernandez, both of whom expressed concern about his deteriorating mental health. One of the women told investigators that Hernandez’s behavior had become more erratic and that he’d been sending the other woman, who lives in Florida, threatening text messages.

One of the messages stated, “We’re taking lives if (expletive) isn’t paid up, ” the report states. “It’s been years in planning, just taking notes, names and locations. They talked their way into this, and it’s almost point game.”

The alleged Florida victim said Hernandez had also threatened her life in open court, according to the document.

Detectives also spoke with an ex-girlfriend of Hernandez’s, who said she had allowed him to use her car July 7 to go to his court hearing. He instead drove to both universities and had gone “into a number of classrooms and buildings at UConn.”

Aaron Hernandez's brother Dennis.

This Thursday, March 23, 2023, booking photo provided by the Cheshire Police Department shows Dennis Hernandez. The brother of the late New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is facing criminal and motor vehicle charges in Connecticut, accused of throwing a brick onto the ESPN headquarters campus and eluding police during brief pursuits in other towns. (Cheshire Police Department via AP)

While “rambling” to his former girlfriend, he told her he “has a bullet for everyone, that he loves me (redacted) but that even you’re (redacted) not safe,” the court records state.

Bristol investigators contacted the police at the University of Connecticut, where they were able to confirm that the car Hernandez borrowed had been on the campus on July 7. It was not immediately clear if officers at Brown were able to do the same.

On social media, Hernandez allegedly made several alarming and threatening posts, authorities said.

“Most of the posts were ramblings about those who have wronged him,” the police report states. “However, the last line in the first post read, ‘Will I kill? Absolutely. I’ve warned my enemies, so pay up front.'”

Police went to Hernandez’s home, where they ensured that two young children in the home were removed by their mother and guardian. When an officer spoke to Hernandez by phone, he allegedly told the officer he was “on foot, armed, and that if (police) approached him, he would kill (them) all.”

Hernandez exited the house shortly after that call and was taken into custody.

He was taken to a hospital, where officers allege that he continued making threats and said he would “kill (redacted) along with anyone who profited off of his brother Aaron,” the document states.

Online records show Hernandez is being held at the Hartford Correctional Center in lieu of $250,000 bond.